The entire police department of a small town in Colorado resigned over the weekend, leaving residents and local officials no explanation as to why they abandoned their posts.
Green Mountain Falls, a town about 15 miles northwest of Colorado Springs with around 700 permanent residents, had a police department that consisted of only four employees — a marshal and three volunteer deputies, according to KOAA-TV. The local TV station reported, “The town's talking, but the few who know why the marshal suddenly left, so far, are not speaking up."
The town's new mayor, Jane Newberry, just took office last week. She told KOAA that she was among those who were left wondering why the marshal resigned.
Newberry suggested that it was the marshal’s resignation that caused the collapse. She explained that since the three deputies were volunteers, they could not work without an official to direct them.
According to KXRM-TV, the lights in the Green Mountain Falls police station were out Sunday. Patrol cars were parked in the station lot, KOAA reported.
Phone calls to the department Sunday also went unanswered, but an anonymous source told KXRM that the marshal and town deputies quit “over policy and unhappiness with the new mayor.”
"In an election year, there's always some people who choose to stay and some people who choose to go, and I think that happens at every level of government," Newberry told KOAA.
The mayor explained that, despite the marshal’s sudden departure, the town has other law enforcement officials in place to protect residents.
"I've stressed many times that the town is perfectly safe," she said. "One of the advantages of a small town — we have less than 700 full-time residents — is neighbors look out for each other."
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office has already stepped in to provide backup for the town and handle dispatch, KXRM reported.
The Teller County Sheriff's Office has also volunteered its services, Newberry said, as well as the Colorado State Patrol.
Newberry told KOAA that as far as she knows, the report that the marshal resigned because of her is simply a rumor.
“I don't know where the rumor came from because during the entire campaign we promised — and I meant it — we were going to swear, reappoint him and swear him in as the marshal the same day I was sworn in,” she said.
Strange as it may seem, this is not the first time Green Mountain Falls has been left without a police force. Newberry said that the marshal stepped down from his position in 2013 during a restructuring and wasn't rehired until four months later, CNN reported.
The new mayor expressed her confidence in the future of the department and shared that the process of hiring a new team shouldn’t be too difficult.
"We have already received applications for the job of marshal even though the position has not been posted," Newberry told CNN. "There are people who want to do it."